Fairfield Prep ace Kevin Stone shuts down Amity
Published 8:59 pm, Friday, April 17, 2015
WOODBRIDGE -- Fairfield Prep and Amity met Friday for the first time this year, and there wasn't a trip to the Class LL quarterfinals on the line like the last time the two SCC baseball heavyweights squared off. There was, however, a chance for each team to make an early statement and build some momentum.
The senior right-hander lived up to his billing as the Jesuits' ace, twirling a complete game in a 4-1 win over the two-time defending LL champion, Amity.
"To get back at it against them is always going to be fun," said Stone, who scattered six hits and struck out five. "We know they're a tough competitor every time. Certainly we've seen them a bunch."
The Jesuits, who are trying to match some seriously lofty expectations, got the better of Amity's No. 1 pitcher, Michael Appel, to improve to 6-0. Appel hit four batters and walked two more over five innings, allowing the Jesuits to generate ample run support for Stone.
After Appel hit the leadoff batter, James Colihan, and walked Brett Stevenson with two outs in the first inning, center fielder Joe Ganim dumped a single into right field for a 1-0 lead. The Jesuits scored twice more in the third, on an error and a wild pitch, to go up 3-1.
Prep produced only five hits, which proved to be enough, at least for one game.
"You're going to take your baserunners any way you can get them," Prep coach Rudy Mauritz said, "especially when you're playing a team that's good. It's more about what you're able to do with those runners.
"The first inning, we were able to scratch out only one run, and we left the bases loaded. In the future, that might be a situation where we need to get that big hit in that big spot. ... It worked out for us today."
Amity, which has eliminated Prep in the state tournament the past two seasons, dropped to 4-2.
"They're a good team," Amity coach Sal Coppola said of Prep, which has outscored its first six opponents by a wide margin, 66-13. "I'd like to see them again. We'll see what happens next time we play them. That's not a threat; I tell these guys, `We want to play the best, the best pitchers.'"
The Spartans saw one of the better ones in the Harvard-bound Stone, who's allowed only one run over 13 innings to start this season. They loaded the bases against him in the third, trailing 3-1, but lined into an inning-ending double play.
"He pitched well today," Coppola said. "I thought, for at least two-thirds of the game, we swung the bat and hit him. It was just, we didn't come up with the big hit. We were close."
Close was not passable against Stone, who settled into a groove late and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
"The difference," Stone said, "was I was mixing it up. They were sitting fastball early, and we were giving it to them. But once we were able to work backwards on guys and start working the offspeed pitches, it was better for us."
The Spartans mustered half their hits in the second inning, including a double by shortstop Brian Ronai, to make it 1-1. They went down in order in three of the seven innings.
FAIRFIELD PREP 102 100 0 -- 4 5 2
AMITY 010 000 0 -- 1 6 2